– Northern Vicariate men’s conference
After many weeks of thoughtful prayer and planning, the Northern Vicariate Men’s Ministry Team had their Men’s Conference on Saturday, November 5, 2022, at St Dominic’s Pastoral Centre, Diego Martin.
The purpose of the conference was male evangelisation and addressing the needs of men in the parishes in the north from Blanchisseuse to Westmoorings and Carenage to Laventille.
The theme of the conference was: I Have Come To Bring Fire To The World and How I Wish It Were Blazing Already. The theme was taken from the Gospel of Luke 12:49.
The Master of Ceremonies, Deacon Derek Walcott, who did a masterful job in ensuring that the conference proceeded smoothly, welcomed the approximately 110 men to the conference. This number grew as the morning progressed.
The proceedings began with praise and worship with Artherly Nicholas whose phenomenal singing, which was supported by members of the Paramin Men’s Group, helped to maintain a spirit-filled atmosphere throughout the day.
Next there was an opening prayer and remarks by Fr Martin Sirju, the Vicar General who declared the conference open. He explored the theme of the conference and encouraged all present to continue to develop their spirituality, to deepen their fraternity with each other and to bring new persons into the ministry.
Then there was the presentation of a video entitled: ‘How To Destroy The World’. This short film highlighted how man’s arrogance, in denying the existence of God and the importance of family, has led to many societal problems which threaten, but for God, the very existence of humanity.
There was an excellent presentation of a Spoken Word segment by John Michael Mader, which was well appreciated by the entire conference.
Winston Garcia gave the feature address. He explored the theme of the conference with some personal accounts of his life and exhorted men to answer the call to let Our Lord more fully into their lives and to use them to bring His fire to the world. Garcia’s powerful sharing was followed by a segment, in which all present reflected on the message, on a one-to-one basis.
After lunch, there were breakout groups exploring men’s issues, in particular, the marginalisation of men and ways in which to reverse this.
Catholic counselling psychologist, Nicholas Voisin listened to the thoughts and contributions of members of the breakout groups, dissected some of the comments made by persons in these groups. He then identified more generally, from his experience, some of the issues facing men today. Voisin answered questions by the participants and quoted extensively from Ephesians 5: 21–33.
Finally, there was a powerful healing service led by Fr Urban Hudlin OP which proved to be a blessing to many present.
The Northern Vicariate would like to say a special thank you to the priests who made themselves available for Confession, and blessings to all the men who participated.
The general view was that it was a wonderful experience and there was some anticipation for a similar encounter with the Lord, sometime soon. —Alvin Peters